One question we often get asked is what is a Child Arrangements Order?
In most cases, following separation, parents are able to communicate directly about matters such as where the children will live, and how much time they will spend with each parent. The starting point in law what is called the “no order principle”. This means that a Court will only get involved in making decisions about your children where is a need to do so.
In some situations, you may need to obtain a Child Arrangement Order setting out the living with and/or contact arrangements for you child/children. This is a legally binding Order. Obtaining such an Order does not need to necessarily involve contested Court proceedings. It is possible to engage in the process of family mediation to agree a pattern of arrangements following which, and if you can demonstrate that you need the certain of a legal order, then an application can be made to the Court for the Court to approve the arrangements by consent.
If, however, this is not possible, then it can sometimes be necessary to make an application to the Family Court for a Child Arrangements Order under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989 for the Court to decide what the arrangements should be. There are also other Orders available under Section 8, including Prohibited Steps Orders and Specific Issue Orders. These Orders can determine issues such as schooling, taking a child away on a holiday when it is not agreed with the other parent, and you can also apply for Orders to stop the other parent behaving in a certain way if there are safety issues in relation to their conduct and care of your child/children.
If you require specific legal advice in relation to the arrangements for your children, then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 01274 861096 (Liversedge office)/ 01423 637272 (Harrogate office).